Episode 9: Attack of the Clones

March 25, 2011

Featuring Matt Anderson and Ben De Bono

Cloning is a major topic in both science fiction and contemporary politics. In this episode of The Sci-Fi Christian, Ben and Matt explore the topic from both angles

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8 comments on “Episode 9: Attack of the Clones

  1. Michael Sep 23, 2011

    Interesting discussion. One question: at about 56.50, Ben says, “Your soul is who you really are.” What is your view on the relationship between the body and the soul? A few seconds earlier, you guys agreed that the body is more or less a vessel for the soul, but I don’t think this is the biblical view of personhood at all. It sounds much more like the Greek body/soul divide, a view no biblical author shares. (Even Paul; his talk of “flesh” versus “spirit” is really about two mindsets or ways of life, whether we live according to human impulse or whether we live directed by the Spirit of God.) I think Genesis 2 shows God breathing the breath of life into Adam, suggesting we are “embodied spirits,” an ultimately indivisible union of body and soul. Why else do we believe in “the resurrection of the body,” not the immortality of the soul? No, we are not just our bodies; but we are not less than our bodies, either. We don’t relate to each other as disembodied beings (except on the Internet, I guess!). We are body and soul together.

    What this would mean for clones, I’m unsure. My best guess is that it lends weight to Matt’s contention that my clone, even if it shared all my memories, would be its own person because it would be living its life in its own body.

    What do you think?

  2. Michael Sep 23, 2011

    Ah, that’s what I get for commenting before the end, because later on you say, “A body is required to be a human.” Agreed. Still, if you wanted to elaborate on where our identity resides while we are alive, I’d be interested to hear it. Thanks!

  3. I totally agree with you about the division of soul and body being unbiblical. I’d have to relisten to the episode to give you a full explanation, but I’m guessing what I meant was to define the soul as the essence of who a person is. That said, I do believe that the soul and body are both essential parts of who we are. The Greek division of the two would have been entirely foreign to the biblical writers and buying into it has done a lot to hurt our theology.

    I’m not sure when this was, but I believe I’ve mentioned NT Wright’s book Surprised By Hope on the show. His discussion on this issue is fantastic and I’m in basic agreement with everything he says on it.

  4. Michael Sep 25, 2011

    I have heard lots of good about Wright’s book. I will have to check it out. His “New Testament For Everyone” series is also a good resource — more for a popular audience than a scholarly one, but I admire someone who can communicate to both audiences (plus, it contains his own translations of the entire New Testament; pretty impressive).

  5. His For Everyone series is really fantastic. He’s actually publishing his NT translation in a single volume next month http://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-New-Testament-Contemporary-Translation/dp/0062064916/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1317007950&sr=8-6

  6. I have to say this is a great episode, really interesting arguments you guys present. Stem cell research has always intrigued me mainly because of the medical benefits that it potentially has. I absolutely do not condone abortion, there’s quite a few alternatives that people could take such as birth control and adoption agencies. There’s thousands of abortions that take place and something I’ve always wondered was what do they do with the aborted fetuses? I assume that abortion agencies dispose of them. Since these fetuses are going to be thrown away anyways, why not have them donated to embryonic stem cell research facilities? I feel like it’s a good way to use them because it’s being disposed of anyways, why not donate them to a cause that could potentially be used to cure illnesses. What do you guys think? But I definitely agree with you guys that there are other forms of stem cell research that scientists could pursue such as the stem cells we have in our spinal fluid, bone marrow, placenta, etc.

    With regards to the question: Do our clones also have our memories and soul? I don’t think clones would. If some scientist decided to create a clone of myself, I feel that my clone wouldn’t have my memories, thoughts, ambition, etc. Clones, to me, are just a replication of genetic material. Yeah it would look like me and sound like me but all it has is my physical characteristics but I feel like our memories, imagination, and thoughts are not entwined in our genetic material. I feel like those intangible qualities are apart of our soul or mind. I feel like our mind develops through life experiences and cannot be transferred to a clone because it’s not in our genetic material. I feel like a clone will appear like us but maybe it would develop it’s own life experiences, it would develop their own minds and maybe develop their own souls.

    Sorry about the long comment lol. Keep up the great work guys! I look forward to listening to the rest of your episodes!

  7. Thanks for the kind words Paul. Glad you liked the episode. I’ve thought about your point regarding aborted fetuses being used for stem cell research and I would still have two objections. First, on moral grounds, I would argue that using aborted fetuses for scientific testing shows further disrespect to those who have already been devalued and discarded. The moral issue here pales in comparison to the abortion itself, but I would still see it as a problem.

    Second, on practical grounds, the effect of allowing aborted fetuses for scientific testing would be to create a dependence within the scientific community on the abortion industry. Research scientists would instantly be invested in keeping abortion legal. To me, that would be a very dangerous road to go down for those of us who want to see an end to abortion.

  8. WOAH! So cool. I’ve read Ted DeKker’s Showdown. What a thrill to get a voicemail from him.

    This was a fantastic ep. Lots of great novel material here. I agree Ben, if a clone is of a Christian person doesn’t accept Christ then yeah, it’s not a believer.

    This by far has my favourite show and totally needed the length.

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